Why I Joined The Military

Why I Joined The Military


Once upon a time in my life I was at a crossroads.  The path of my life forked, giving me two different options for my future.  The choice was not as simple as sometimes is the case.  On one hand I would stay in North Idaho and never really experience the world, while on the other hand I would see the world and acquire a marketable skill.  At the time I already had one marketable skill—welding, but how far could I go with that and how much money could I earn doing that.

The pristine mountain vistas of North Idaho
The pristine mountain vistas of North Idaho

Staying in North Idaho


North Idaho is some of the most beautiful country one could ever hope to lay their eyes upon.  In an area that is surrounded by majestic mountains, pristine lakes, and pure mountain air is the serene beauty of my original home.  Growing up in this environment has made me who I am today, so how could I leave it behind?  All of my family lives here and choosing the military would virtually guarantee the inevitable abandonment of my family.  On the other hand if I left to build a life for myself there was nothing saying that I couldn’t come home for a visit. 

I had at the time already built a life for me and my family while working as a welder at a few places.  My oldest daughter was three and my youngest was just recently born so I chose to stay in North Idaho.  I would continue to live out my life with my family and be perfectly content.  Then I got laid off from my welding job.  A month and a half later the towers were destroyed by a terrorist attack on U.S soil.  Out of work and desperate was one thing, patriotism was another.

Yes Drill Sergeant!!
Yes Drill Sergeant!!
Hubchallenge number 27
Hubchallenge number 27

Joining the Military


My father was a retired U.S. Navy senior chief and had plenty of advice for me while I decided on a career path.  The truth I sought from my father because he would not lie to me to get me to join the military, he had nothing to gain of it.  I decided that I would go see the recruiters the next day.  So one month after the towers fell I went to the recruiting station to speak to the Navy recruiters.

As I entered the recruiter station, the Navy wasn’t there.  My second choice, the Air Force wasn’t there either.  The Marines, the Coast Guard, and the Army were there though.  I walked into the Army recruiter’s office, the excitement was in their eyes and I knew then that I would go in.  After speaking to them for about half an hour I learned that I could choose from 215 different jobs and I could also choose a duty station, plus they were offering a fifteen thousand dollar enlistment bonus.  I bought the sales pitch, and promised to return later on with my wife so we could make a joint decision.

That night I talked with my wife about possible job options and the possibility of going to war.  I was very naïve about the whole war thing at the time but whatever.  We later returned to the recruiter station and talked about my options, and when I would leave to find out what my actual job would be.

I left on a Friday to the MEPS station, there I would get the entrance physical exam and I would take the job placement test (ASVAB).  After taking the ASVAB I spoke to the career counselor about jobs, to which he laid out about fifteen that I could do.  I chose to be a tank mechanic, so I said so and got a ship out date for November 16th of the same year.  All in all I would have to say it was a good choice.


Why Did I Join


I sometimes wonder to myself why I joined.  I think the best way to sum it up is to reflect on the circumstances of the time.  I was out of work and needed an income.  The World Trade Center had just been attacked by terrorists and the military increased their promotion.  I needed a change of pace for my life. 

I did not want to go to war and I sure as hell never wanted to leave my family behind for a year at a time.  The military and especially the Army solved a couple of problems for me that no other job could have.  I also believe that even though we are at war now one day the wars will end and normalcy can continue.  Hopefully when that happens I can try to rebuild everything the war has destroyed in my life as well.  In conclusion, I am glad that I decided to join the Army and I am also glad that my wife allowed me to join.

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Comments 14 comments

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Pachuca213 7 years ago

I see how inside you have a struggle because you did what you thought was necessary but at the same time you have lost what was important to you in the process.....things will get better eventually. Remember not to live life with regrets not that I think you regret anything! you are a great person with a good heart and things will work out in the end..even if its not the way you thought it would!

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ralwus 7 years ago

Wes, I do commend you for your service. You did what you needed to do at the time. It took courage. I hope too that one day you can make things right in your life after war. 9/12/01 was so similar to 12/8/41 in that men and women in droves volunteered in anger, fear, honor, love of country and pride. I sure hope we never go through it again and you are there to see it doesn't. Be safe, CC

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breakfastpop 7 years ago

Thank you fro your honesty and for allowing us a sneak peak into your mind and heart. Thanks also for keeping us safe.

wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 7 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

Thank you everyone for visiting and commenting.

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Hmrjmr1 7 years ago from Georgia, USA

Great Post Wesley, Keep safe lad..

nicomp profile image

nicomp 7 years ago from Ohio, USA

Thank you for your service.

wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 7 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

Thank you for visiting my hub.

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readytoescape 7 years ago from Central Florida


Firstly thank you for your commitment, your sacrifice and your service for all of us. I also want that to be extended to your wife and children, for they surely fight a battle with the same fortitude. I find your reasoning for joining the military “typical” of the much maligned generation “X rs” whom, as “ralwus” pointed out, is similar to the patriotism and love of country of the “Great Generation”.

Two of my sons also serve, and for exactly the same reasons as you. I used the word “typical” above because I have been fortunate enough to talk with many of you that all tell the same story.

Of that, I have always asked each the same question and gotten the same response, if the job training and educational benefits were not included in the, as you put it, sales pitch, would you still have joined?

The answer, after a slight pause, has always been a resounding yes. When I would ask why, they to a man (or woman) would look you straight in the eye and say, “someone has too.”

Thank you for your courage, your sacrifice, and your protection.

wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 7 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

Readytoescape: Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I think a lot of what you say is accurate because as I read through and answered the questions they were the same as what you wrote. A resounding Yes. Thank you again.

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ethel smith 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Wes I find it hard to understand why people join the army. My Dad was in the 2nd World War for the whole whack and had bad health thereafter. To each his own and it is a good job that some people feel able to join the forces. Glad it was not me and mine though.

Sending you a big hug from the UK as I guess you need plenty of those out here :)

readytoescape profile image

readytoescape 7 years ago from Central Florida

You need not thank me....you, and your brothers and sisters at arms are the ones that deserve all our thanks. The beer is on me if I get the chance to meet you and shake your hand.

stars439 profile image

stars439 7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

great article.

wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 7 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

Stars439: Thank you for your comments.

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PADDYBOY60 5 years ago from Centreville Michigan

I enjoyed reading your hub. Stay safe sir.

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